Shoppers in Tinsel town have trouble keeping up with the ever-changing trends. While “real” LA is defined by the T-shirt and jeans wardrobe, the “celebrity” portion of town is defined by the designers themselves. In a town where fashion rules, bring your credit cards and get over your sticker shock.
Fred Segal: an institution when shopping at Melrose in Los Angeles. The original ivy-covered complex is located at 8100 Melrose Avenue (you’ll find another location in Santa Monica), and it houses a collection of chic boutiques selling apparel for men, women and children, lingerie, shoes, cosmetics, and an assortment of other high dollar designer items. This may be your best bet to shop among celebrities, or at least dress like one as the down-to-earth staff recommends pieces in the same way a Hollywood stylist would.
Our favorite trend setter on Melrose Avenue is SURU, a modern shop that literally means “hand printed” in Japanese. For Angelinos, this is THE spot for stocking the city’s number one wardrobe staple: the T-Shirt. SURU prints a limited number of each of its tees, all screen-printed and designed by local artists, which then hang and rotate by conveyor belt around the perimeter of the minimalistic store. Look here for limited edition books and vinyl toys as well. Part owned by a member of the rock band Linkin Park, you know the store, well, rocks.
Some Los Angeles shopping is best done by way of window. For those travelers who appreciate designer items but may not have the funds to purchase them, we suggest the window shopping at Maxfield on Melrose. This store is known for its edgy window displays, ranging from musician tributes to political statements.
Channel your inner-most Julia Roberts in her Pretty Woman days as you stroll down Rodeo Drive. Just don’t expect the store staff to be as rude to you as they were to her. While you will find more staff than shoppers in most stores, most are pleasant and eager to help you find what you’re looking for. Rodeo Drive Los Angeles is synonymous with upscale shopping for LA’s rich and famous. The stores, pristine townhouses lined side-by-side, are as pristine and elegant as the items sold within. Check out Ralph Lauren, where upon entering the front doors, you’ll find yourself standing in stone courtyard, complete with bubbling fountains and flora guiding the path to the interior of the shop. From Versace to Louis Vuitton, the list of A-list designers with retail space on Rodeo is endless. Tip:
if you’re looking for sale items, ask a sales associate. Many stores here won’t put price tags on their items.
Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade
If you enjoy a street market feel, you’ll love downtown Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, which just might be the most whimsical of all Los Angeles shopping venues. The area boasts over 200 stores selling more than just clothing, and at reasonable prices to boot. Find that lamp you’ve been looking for at Pottery Barn, Z Gallerie or Restoration Hardware and the latest iPod gadget at Apple Computer. Shoes, jewelry, books and more can also be purchased here. Just outside the Promenade is Main Street, a mile-long stretch of galleries and antique shops dotted with cafes and restaurants. Just two blocks off the ocean, the area makes for a perfect afternoon of seaside shopping.
Have lunch by way of the unique vendors in The Market, then hop the double-decker street car to the quaint streets of The Grove Shopping Center. Shop well known retail stores here, such as Barnes & Noble, Banana Republic, J. Crew, Tommy Bahama and Nordstrom. While they may be trickier to spot than on Rodeo Drive, stars often frequent these establishments in disguise.
Also known as Little Mexico, Olivera Street a perfect picture of Mexico in Los Angeles. Saunter down the oldest street in LA, take in the rainbow of bright colors emerging from the stalls, and bargain with the merchants as they sell textiles, leather goods and Mexican inspired clothing. This is our number one spot in LA for souvenir shopping with a little taste of life south of the border.